What’s up with dinosaurs?
Dinosaurs, alongside volcanoes, animals, and The Magic Treehouse, are one of the things that I know less about now than I did in elementary school. So, let’s catch up on dinosaur news together.
I guess I should start by establishing my current knowledge about dinosaurs. I know that they were big reptiles that went extinct around 60 million years ago. As far as I remember, scientists weren’t sure how they went extinct; the prevailing theory was that there was a meteor, but in recent years, people seem to have been talking about the meteor thing like it was a sure thing that happened. Maybe there’s been some development in the field of dinosaur extinction that no one told me about. There’s also that whole thing about dinosaurs having feathers and birds being dinosaurs or whatever, but I’m not sure if I buy that.
Let’s see how many dinosaurs I can name: tyrannosaurus rex, velociraptor, brontosaurus, plesiosaurus, pterodactyl, and triceratops. I’ll be honest, I thought I could come up with more dinosaurs than that; I’m mildly disappointed, but this is the perfect set-up for my hero’s journey through the world of dinosaur news.
At this point, we’re somehow already on step five, “Crossing the Threshold”: I search “dinosaur news” on DuckDuckGo. ScienceDaily has a page specifically for dinosaur news. This seems quite fortuitous, but some things are just too good to be true. The top headlines all contain some way too detailed findings about some esoteric part of dinosaur science, like Synchrotron X-Ray Sheds Light on Some of the World’s Oldest Dinosaur Eggs and Researchers Learn More About Teen-Age T. Rex. Now even more confused, I decide to dive right in and learn about what these researchers have discovered about t-rex teens.
The article references a study titled “Growing up Tyrannosaurus rex: histology refutes pygmy ‘Nanotyrannus’ and supports ontogenetic niche partitioning in juvenile Tyrannosaurus” and that’s all I need to know. Clearly there is some debate in the dinosaur community about the existence of a pygmy Nanotyrannus. Already I feel much more informed and up-to-date about dinosaurs. This has made me superior to most adults (dinosaur-wise but also generally), but again I am lost. I have reached the pinnacle of knowing about Jurassic juveniles and don’t know where to go next.
Computers and websites can’t tell me what I want to know about dinosaurs. The beeping and booping of computers and their perfect regurgitation of facts can’t replace the beeping and booping of human beings and their imperfect regurgitation of facts. Also, searching things online is really tedious; I’ll just look for someone to tell me what I want to know. I need to find dinosaur people.
Dinosaur-People, according to the Marvel Database, are a group of of human-dinosaur hybrids in Earth-616 (whatever that means) created by and under the control of Stegron, using the Lizard Formula. The Marvel Database only has two short paragraphs on the Dinosaur-People, but the tale it tells is one as old as time: a secret project to engineer a military healing factor turned wrong by the betrayal of of an already existing human-dinosaur hybrid with plans for conquering Manhattan. These human-dinosaur hybrids may not the dinosaur people that we’re looking for, but maybe non-hybrid human children are. Do kids still like dinosaurs?
Tara Lazar has published a list of 542 things that kids like. I find that dinosaurs are indeed a part of the list, which also includes volcanoes, many kinds of animals, magic, and treehouses — it seems as if my childhood was quite an archetypal one. However, I also spot a few entries: Silly Bandz and marzipan that make me doubt both the currency of the list and Tara Lazar’s understanding of kids. Sure enough, the list was published in November of 2007, but also includes Minecraft which wasn’t released to the public until 2009 — I’m extremely confused and I think reading every single entry on this list was a waste of time.
I have a four-year-old nephew (technically a second cousin, once removed, and also technically four and a half, but that’s neither here nor there). Is he into dinosaurs?
No. Preston isn’t that into dinosaurs. Kids don’t like dinosaurs anymore.
Here, I need to be honest: I’ve really buried the lede. A while ago, after giving up with looking through dinosaur news on ScienceDaily, I searched the web for “dinosaur news in the last decade,” and found a blog post published five months ago, from the Natural History Museum of Utah. The past decade has apparently been huge for dinosaur science and the post breaks down the ten most important discoveries of the 2010’s.
It’s really good. You should read it.